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The Martial Arts Industry Association exists to help grow martial arts participation by helping school owners succeed. Many school owners are never exposed to the foundational business concepts necessary to run and grow a successful business. At MAIA, we can help fill that need, as we are made up of school owners who have walked in your shoes, know your struggles, and can help with strategies to elevate you from novice to a "blackbelt in business".

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PreSKILLZ: Changing the Way You Think About Teaching Children

by Melody Johnson

 

Every Tuesday after school, my son has a playdate at a local park. I like to watch him interact with other kids from the neighborhood so I can observe their behavior. I’m a fan of the way kids play, in part because I’m in awe that we adults don’t engage with our peers the way children do.

Unfortunately, the kids almost always exhibit behaviors that prompt their parents to weigh in on how they’re playing. Most of the parental feedback is negative. Not surprisingly, most of the kids’ responses to this are equally negative.

Many times, it’s just a case of mistaken “stage of development” identity. The parents don’t understand that the children’s behavior is natural and common for their age and therefore shouldn’t be addressed so negatively. At the same time, I see many opportunities where a good martial arts program could help make the parents’ job easier and more enjoyable.

One example...

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What Martial Art Do You Teach?

“What martial art do you teach?”

 

That’s right up there among the most common questions asked by a prospective new student or their parents. If they’ve done some research, they may already know a few things about the martial arts, but as beginners, there are so many unanswered questions and preconceived ideas. Cutting through all of that can sometimes be a challenge.

 

As a practicing martial artist for my entire adult life I’ve had the opportunity to study a variety of martial art disciplines, some more extensively than others. I like to tell people, “They’re the same thing, only different.” I have always believed that it’s not the specific style or the system that makes one art better for one student and not another. I think it’s more important to find an instructor and a school with a philosophy and style of teaching that is appropriate for the needs of the individual student.

       ...

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Agility Ring Drills Kids Will Love!

mentor student retention Jan 27, 2020

By Michelle Hodnett

 

Project Dojo is a nonprofit community outreach program in Pueblo, Colorado, that works with at-risk children. Through the power of martial arts, Project Dojo seeks to inspire and motivate kids within a safe environment, while continuing to teach the traditions of martial arts. This is the story of Project Dojo co-founder Michelle Hodnett’s experiences in her martial arts journey.

 

Agility Rings from Century are durable and will last for years, and their use is only limited by your imagination. We use the rings to focus the students, to provide visual markers, and as a tool in multiple drills. No matter how you use them, their bright colors always draw kids’ attention and help them focus on the task at hand.

 

 

Ring on Ground Drills

Quick Feet: Place your rings in a line and have students go in and out of the rings as fast as they can. This is footwork and cardio. Several other agility drills, like hopping on one foot, two feet...

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Basic Blocker and Target Drills and Games

By Michelle Hodnett

 

Project Dojo is a nonprofit community outreach program in Pueblo, Colorado, that works with at-risk children. Through the power of martial arts, Project Dojo seeks to inspire and motivate kids within a safe environment, while continuing to teach the traditions of martial arts. This is the story of Project Dojo co-founder Michelle Hodnett’s experiences in her martial arts journey.

 

Blockers and targets from Century are great tools for building kid-friendly drills to develop blocking skills and timing. The most effective way to use this equipment with children is to make it a game. When a child is laughing and having fun, they are more responsive to learning.

 

 

Samurai Run

Have two teams sitting opposite from each other. Position two Century Square Hand Targets in the middle of the mat as markers, and a blocker next to where the lines of teams start.

One student from each team must sprint to the center of the mat, tag their target,...

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PreSKILLZ Is Rolling Out a New Feature!

by Melissa Torres, MAIA Division Manager

 

Eighteen months ago, MAIA launched a done-for-you curriculum created by child-development expert Melody Johnson. This program, called PreSKILLZ, was designed to give any instructor the know-how needed to teach children ages 3-6. PreSKILLZ leads you through the eight essential skills children should develop and provides warm-ups, mat chats, games and skill-building drills to be used in class.

PreSKILLZ was the first curriculum MAIA launched after I became the division manager, and I have tremendously enjoyed being a part of it. (It’s also not a bad gig to get to visit Johnson in St. Petersburg, Florida, twice a year to film new content — right on the beach!)

Over the course of the past year and a half, we have heard dozens and dozens of success stories and seen the excitement from our schools that have implemented PreSKILLZ. When Johnson takes the stage at the Martial Arts SuperShow and speaks, it’s clear how...

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Starting a Martial Arts Program for Individuals with Down Syndrome

By Dwight Trower

 

I’ve been training as a martial artist for 38 years. The last 28 of those I’ve also been a school owner. Over that time, I have had the opportunity to visit and network with countless other martial arts professionals. As an industry, we’re all aware that many of our students have learning disabilities or physical limitations, and that we have to be able to adapt our programs to allow them to benefit, while maintaining the integrity of the martial arts and our chosen way of teaching.

 

One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is that every student is unique. Each and every one of them has their own needs and goals. I’ve seen many schools, just like my own, train and develop elite martial athletes, successful adult students, children with learning disabilities, and those with special needs all within the same program.

 

October is Down syndrome Awareness Month, so this is a great time for me to get to share how...

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The Benefits of Martial Arts Training for Teens and Adults with Down Syndrome

By Dwight Trower

 

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month! To shine the spotlight on the amazing members of our martial arts community with Down syndrome, and those who know them training partners, students, family and friends, MAIA is proud to feature this guest article by Dwight Trower, Director of Instruction at St. Louis Family Martial Arts Academy. 

 

 In my many years as a martial artist and school owner, I have had the fortune of being able to instruct many students with Down Syndrome, as well as others on the autism spectrum and with various mental and physical disabilities. Given the inclusive nature of martial arts (no one sits on the bench!) I know that many of my fellow school owners have also had this experience. However, in 2010, thanks to Deidre Pujols and the Pujols Family Foundation, I was given the opportunity to do even more.

 

With help from the Foundation, I was able to create a stand-alone program and...

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Affordable Ways to Grow Your Martial Arts School

by Kurt Klingenmeyer, MAIA Consultant

 

Over the past year, I’ve had the incredible experience of working with many growing martial arts schools via MAIA’s Small School Forum. It’s a dedicated Facebook group for school owners with 80 or fewer students. The forum provides tools and advice to help them develop their schools.

One of the most frequently asked questions is, “How do I grow my martial arts school with only a small budget?” The following are five proven ways to do that.

 

Lead Boxes

This is an old-school form of marketing, but it always delivers results. Visit 10 local businesses that are community owned and tell the owners that you have students and families who may be interested in them. Ask if they have any business materials you could place at the front desk in your dojo.

If they have materials to share, ask if they can reciprocate by allowing you to leave a lead box on their counter. On the outside of the box, feature an enticing...

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To Retain the Best, You Have to Give Your Best!

by Chris Rappold

 

It is always exciting to enroll new students. In most cases, it’s a fresh start with no history, only the promise of a bright martial arts future. The students enter your school and take their first class, receive their first promotions and win their first trophies. Everything is new and exciting.

Through continued hard work — both yours and the students’ — they continue to advance. At first, you may have just one advanced student, but in what seems like no time, you have a class full of brown and black belts. It’s a dream come true.

Then, without warning, one of those advanced students, perhaps even one you had mentally tagged as an assistant instructor, discontinues training. You feel like you got punched in the stomach. Why would the person suddenly stop training? Isn’t this what he or she always wanted? Why would the student come so far, only to quit? These questions and others race through your mind.

While you’ll...

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Balance the New With the Old

by Kathy Olevsky

 

I’ve operated a martial arts school full time for 45 years. I may have made every mistake that can be made in this business. The reason I’m still in business, I believe, is I asked for help. I learned quickly that others before me had already found solutions. In this column, I’ll point out key mistakes I made in my career, which are common errors among school owners, both large and small, throughout our industry. And I’ll share the solutions I used to overcome them.

 

Over the years, I have realized the importance of balancing the addition of new things with the maintenance of tradition and integrity. In my school’s karate program, we adhere to the same high standards as we always have. The black belt of today is the same as the black belt of many years ago. However, many of our students also partake in our yoga-stretch class, our cardio-fitness class, and our judo and jujitsu classes.

In this industry, it’s essential...

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